What are SIP trunks and why switch to SIP trunking?
What are SIP trunks anyway? Good question! Glad you asked! In the simplest terms SIP trunks are simply a way to connect your phone system to the outside world using an internet connection. Your phone calls travel over the internet rather than an old fashioned, expensive dedicated voice circuits. This does require a good internet connection which in most cases is easy enough to achieve with the help of a professional.
Why would you want to consider doing this? The number one reason is to save money, often quite a bit money! Many companies in the bay area find they can get rid of expensive phone bills and replace it with a low cost SIP trunk bill at a fixed rate with no taxes or fees. We had one company recently go from spending $4000-$6000/month to their old carrier down to $750/month, fixed rate, no hidden fees. Most companies save an average of 50%. This kind of savings alone makes it well worth a look.
There are additional benefits too. For example, if you are using analog trunks or a PRI and run out of lines, your customers start getting a busy signal when they call you. To resolve this, you need to have your phone company or LEC, local exchange carrier, come out and install an expensive new line or add an additional PRI. You then need to have your telephone system vendor come out and connect it to your phone system and do some programming. This may even involve adding new hardware to your existing phone system. With SIP trunks, it’s simple! It’s all done in software! In many cases, SIP trunks are dynamic. If you get one more call than you normally do, an additional call path is opened dynamically and you aren’t even aware of it. Callers never get a busy signal! In other cases, it may require a phone call to your provider who makes a change in software and your all set. There are serious advantages to SIP trunks over analog or PRI trunks! To request more information…
Otherwise, for or a little more technical discussion of what’s involved, read on. You may be aware of SIP and its use in VoIP telephony. SIP is an acronym for Session Initiation Protocol which is the protocol used in VoIP calls for call session setup and tear down. SIP trunking is a method used to provide logical communication paths or call paths for VoIP calls between your PBX and your SIP telephony provider or carrier.
SIP trunking works over your data network, over the public internet or a private WAN connection between your site and your SIP trunk provider. Essentially, you can take an existing data connection and use an IP connection to connect your PBX to your SIP telephony provider. It’s the equivalent of using an PRI voice circuit to connect your PBX to your PSTN provider, only without the constraints or limitations of a PRI. Your SIP trunk provider has a data network with interconnections into the PSTN. Your SIP trunk provider servers serve as a gateway to the PSTN.
Folks who have setup older PBXs with PRIs know that when setting up a PRI you identify your switch type, encoding method and other parameters so that your PBX and the carrier switch are speaking the same language. Similarly, SIP trunking may require similar tweaks, all done in software. The basic setup usually involves inputting parameters in your PBX such as the SIP trunks end point IP along with perhaps a username and password, if using user authentication. In some cases, additional configuration is required but it’s usually quite simple.
In conclusion, there are significant advantages to using SIP trunks. Companies save money, adding to their bottom line. Given the flexibility of SIP trunks with dynamic call paths, as long as you watch your data network and do proper capacity planning, you never have to worry about your customers getting a busy signal or a message that your call could not go through. You have virtually unlimited call paths, able to support as many concurrent calls as you need. The constraint becomes your internet bandwidth. But, that’s another subject for another day!